Area firefighters battled four different grass fires in Pottawatomie County Thursday and sheriff’s deputies say those fires were intentionally set so an investigation is ongoing.

Area firefighters battled four different grass fires in Pottawatomie County Thursday and sheriff’s deputies say those fires were intentionally set so an investigation is ongoing.

As fire crews worked to douse those wildfires Thursday, deputies also were completing paperwork to seek an arrest warrant for the suspect accused of burning trash in a barrel on Wednesday, said Undersheriff Travis Palmer. That fire sparked a 300-plus-acre grass fire that burned from Benson Park Road to Hardesty Road.

Pottawatomie County remains under a burn ban as extreme fire conditions remain.

Crews from Pink, Bethel Acres and Tecumseh battled the fires on Thursday, with each involving about a one-acre area.

Those wildfires were in the area of Bethel Road and Highland; Little River Road and Bethel Curve Road, the 25000 block of Bethel Curve; along with 23000 block of Jean Amerson Drive.

Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said all four fires broke out within an hour of each other.

Palmer said the three fires near Bethel Road are all suspicious.

“There’s no doubt all three of those were set,” Palmer said.

Williams believes the wildfire on Jean Amerson Drive, which ignited by the roadway, also was set.

A passerby who saw that blaze got a shovel and had most of the flames beat down as firefighters arrived, Williams said.

Palmer, who said all the rain was beneficial last year, said it also made vegetation grow. Now those tall grasses — most of it knee-high to waist deep — are even more of a fire danger.

With conditions this dry, fires in rural areas are more difficult for firefighters to contain, he said.

Those responsible for violating the burn ban are guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries a $500 fine, and up to one year in jail.

Persons found responsible for a starting a fire that gets out of control also are liable for the costs of any damages, Palmer said, while those who intentionally start a blaze can face felony arson charges.

Palmer, who said they are actively investigating Thursday’s fires, said it was arsonists who were responsible for the grass fires that broke out in Luther a couple years back, which left many residents of that area homeless.

And as dry as it is around here, he said “it doesn’t take much to get one going.”

Palmer, who said deputies will enforce the burn ban, said even if there wasn’t a ban in place, people should be using common sense in these dry conditions.

Other than a shed, no structures were lost in any of the grass fires Thursday.

There is some snow in the forecast next week, but Williams said that moisture will quickly be absorbed into the ground and dry grasses will remain, so extreme fire conditions aren’t expected to improve.

Palmer said anyone who might have witnessed a suspicious vehicle or any other activity near Thursday’s fires is asked to call the sheriff’s office, 273-1727.